Fay Lomoax Cook and Edith J. Barrett. Support for the American Welfare State. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. $49.50 hardcover; $16.50 papercover.

During the 1980s, the rhetoric of crisis permeated academic debates about social policy. The welfare state was said to be struggling with a major fiscal crisis and, at the same time, to be facing a crisis of legitimacy. The legitimacy of the social services was being undermined as programs were becoming increasingly costly, inefficient and unable to meet expectations. Reagan's electoral victories appeared to confirm the view that popular support for the welfare state was rapidly evaporating. Indeed, the Reaganites frequently claimed that the American public had rejected the welfare state and wished it to be replaced with increased individual responsibility, commercial social services and charitable provisions.

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